ikolay Vladimirovich Davydenko is a retired Russian tennis player.
He achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3 in November 2006. Davydenko's best result in a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the semi-finals, which he accomplished on four occasions: twice each at the French Open and the U.S. Open, losing to Roger Federer in all but one of them.
His biggest achievement was winning the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals, and he also won three ATP Masters Series.
Davydenko was granted Russian citizenship in 1999 at the age of 18, and after that represented Russia. In 2007, he applied for Austrian citizenship (so as to obtain dual citizenship) and had also previously applied for German citizenship.He and his wife, Irina, have one child, a daughter named Ekaterina.
Davydenko employs an offensive baseline game, using deep and penetrating groundstrokes on both wings. His groundstrokes are technically efficient on both forehand and backhand. His tremendous foot speed and anticipation enables him to hit the ball early which catches opponents out of position and allows him to dictate the play, somewhat similar to former world no. 1 Andre Agassi. Davydenko's best shot is his backhand which he can hit down the line, cross court or with extreme angles. He is known for his running shots which he takes early and often turn into winners. His serve is technically correct and very consistent, even though it lacks the fire-power to become a serious weapon. Davydenko's style should make him a good player on any surface, however he has been most successful on hard and clay courts, as he is yet to make a significant breakthrough on grass.
Davydenko's main weaknesses are his volleys, and his occasional inability to close out matches. His volleys are not as consistent as his groundstrokes, though he does have one of the best swinging volleys on tour. Many tennis analysts have also criticised Davydenko for lacking variation in his game due to the fact that he mainly plays from the baseline with his consistent groundstrokes. In recent years, he has varied his game by employing the slice and moving into the net more often. Davydenko's difficulty closing matches has lost him numerous important matches after holding the lead.
This was evident during the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup against James Blake and Rafael Nadal where he won the first set and had the lead in the second but lost. Against Roger Federer he blew a lead at the 2006 and 2010 Australian Opens as well as at the 2007 French Open. In the 2006 Australian Open, he had three set points in the third to go up 2 sets to 1, but lost the set and eventually the match.
The ATP launched a match fixing investigation of Davydenko's match against Martín Vassallo Argüello in Sopot of 2 August 2007, after several large bets were placed at an online British gambling company, Betfair, in Argüello's favour after Davydenko had won the first set 6–2.
Davydenko withdrew from the match during the third set with a foot injury. Although Davydenko had suffered three first-round defeats in his last three tournaments, was injured in an earlier-round match, and showed signs of injury in the second set, it did not make sense to Betfair that such a heavy betting volume would go in Argüello's direction at that point of time in the match. Per its agreement with the ATP, Betfair notified the Tour. It has since been revealed that nine people based in Russia had bet US$1.5M on Davydenko losing while two unknown people would gain US$6M from the loss. A total of $7M was wagered on the match, ten times the usual amount.
Due to these irregularities, all bets were voided. On September 11, 2008, Davydenko, along with Arguello, were cleared of any involvement in match-fixing. The inquiry, which lasted over a year, was the longest ever held into match-fixing in tennis.
Further controversy also surrounded Davydenko after one of his matches at St. Petersburg Open in October 2007. During his 1–6, 7–5, 6–1 defeat by Marin Čilić, he was given a code violation by umpire Jean-Philippe Dercq for not giving his best effort. He was later fined $2000 (£987) by the ATP, but the fine was rescinded upon appeal.
The following week, he lost 6–2, 6–2 to Marcos Baghdatis at the Paris Masters. This generated some controversy, as Davydenko was cautioned by the umpire to do his best during the match.
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